Should I Treat My Dry Eye?

Young Woman with Dry Eyes

Do you find yourself reaching for your eye drops throughout the day? Are your eyes dry when you wear your contact lenses?

These are all signs that you could have dry eye. If you have dry eye, does that mean you have to treat it? Keep reading to learn more!

What is Dry Eye?

People usually get dry eye when their eyes aren’t making enough tears or the tears are low-quality.

What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?

There are many symptoms you might experience when you have dry eye. They can be itching, redness, blurry vision, and a gritty feeling like something is in your eye. You can also suffer from light sensitivity or pain from glare.

For some patients, dry eyes can overproduce tears. This happens because of the lack of moisture in your eye.

This sensation sends a signal to your nervous system for increased lubrication. It will send a lot of tears to try to solve the dryness, but the tears are almost all water.

A normal tear is made up of mucus, oil, and water. When you have tears that are missing the necessary components, it can lead to dry eye.

What Causes Dry Eye?

There are a lot of different causes of dry eye. For some people, it is something off balance in the tear production system.

For others, it can be environmental. This includes things like your AC, heater, or other outward heat sources. Too much of these can affect your tear production and how tears coat your eyes.

Other causes are the aging process like menopause or as a side effect of prescription drugs. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren’s syndrome can also cause dry eye.

What Are Different Treatments for Dry Eye?

There are a variety of different treatments for dry eye. Here are the most common ones:

Artificial Tears

This is a great treatment for mild cases of dry eye caused by schoolwork, reading, or using a computer. Frequent use of artificial tears or lubricating eye drops could be the best solution.

There are a variety of brands and formulas of artificial tears available. Ask your eye doctor about what kind would be best for you.

Prescription Eye Drops

If your dry eye is more severe, your eye doctor may recommend prescription eye drops. One of the most common drops is Restasis.

Restasis lubricates and reduces inflammation related to dry eye. You will have to use the drops for at least 90 days to feel the full benefits of them.

Another type of prescription eye drop is Xiidra. What your doctor prescribes depends on the severity of your dry eye symptoms.

Steroid Eye Drops

With dry eye can also come inflammation. It’s important to address inflammation while treating dry eye. Inflammation in the eye can cause many of the symptoms associated with dry eye.

Punctal Plugs

If you’ve tried drops and artificial tears, your doctor may recommend punctal plugs. These plugs are semi-permanent or permanent, depending on your dry eye.

Semi-permanent punctal plugs are good for patients who are trying out punctal plugs.

Permanent punctal plugs are placed into the tear ducts. This allows your tears to stay in your eyes instead of having them evaporate.

For sufferers of dry eye, this is key when you’re trying to get your symptoms under control. If punctal plugs aren’t helping, you can easily have them removed by your eye doctor.

Tired of living with dry eye symptoms? Schedule an appointment at Mid Ohio Eye in Columbus, OH now!